The experts at Family Travel Forum rate Chattanooga's most family-friendly hotels and restaurants.The experts at Family Travel Forum rate Chattanooga's most family-friendly hotels and restaurants.
Chattanooga is convenient to most families as it is serviced efficiently by USAirways, 800/428-4322 at the expanded Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. On arrival, your first stop for advanced sightseeing information should be the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2 Broad Street, 800/322-3344 or 423/756-8687, near the Aquarium. Send for information ahead of time.
When you review our picks for some of the best places to stay and eat in this "smart city, " keep in mind that you can contact any of the hotel chains directly for the best price and seasonal specials rather than the company's 800 number.
Holiday Inn Chattanooga Choo Choo
1400 Market Street
For the most fun a family can have at a hotel, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn is the clear choice. Converted from the actual 1909 railroad station and depot and the topic of Glenn Miller's 1941 hit, the restored structure now enchants young and old enthusiasts with amenities and memorabilia from the golden age of railroading. Book a room in one of the renovated authentic Victorian parlor cars lined up behind the main entrance lobby and former terminal station. Contemporary rooms are available in three separate satellite buildings toward the back. The hotel also offers shops, indoor/outdoor pools, arcades, tennis courts, fitness center, gardens, outdoor concerts and horse and buggy rides. Do not miss the world's largest HO gauge model railroad layout. The 174' by 30' layout boasts 3000 feet of track and guarantees to not only delight the kids on a rainy day but also remind their parents of long forgotten childhood passions.
1201 South Broad Street
For a premium contemporary experience, stay at The Chattanoogan, a new four-star hotel and full service conference center. In the heart of Chattanooga's Southside and within walking distance of downtown's major attractions, The Chattanoogan offers upscale accommodations with spectacular views of downtown or Lookout Mountain. Try the Discover the Fun package–best for families– which includes accommodations, breakfast at The Broad St. Grill, free shuttle service to downtown attractions, and tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium, IMAX Theater, and The Creative Discovery Museum.
Sheraton Read House Hotel and Suite
827 Broad Street
This hotel, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, provides a memorable snapshot of Chattanooga history back to 1847. Reconstructed in 1872 after burning down, the hotel earned a reputation for distinction and period architecture. Previous visitors include Winston Churchill, Tallulah Bankhead, Gary Cooper and Eddie Rickenbacker. Room 311 – with the bars on the windows – is where Al Capone rested between his days in the court that convicted him. For the truly adventurous, book room 311 for Halloween–well in advance. This tradition stems from tales of unexplained apparitions said to be the ghost of a suicidal woman resulting from a failed romance. The friendly hotel staff will tell you, quite seriously, that numerous guests of Room 311, mostly male, have requested a different room after witnessing strange sounds, movements and shadowy figures in the mirror and on the bed.
Bluff View Inn
412 East Second Street
This is the historic and architectural centerpiece of the city's art district overlooking the Tennessee River. The Inn, comprised of three turn-of-the-century homes with authentic antique furnishings and elegant décor, whisks you back in time without giving up modern amenities. Each room is named after a noteworthy Chattanoogan and exemplifies the history behind their lives. Reserve the Llewellyn Suite in the English Tudor Maclellan House, the Martin Room in the Colonial Revival Martin Mansion, or the Newell Room in the Victorian styled Thompson House.
Dining choices are too numerous to cover here but don't leave without trying the local barbecue establishments. Most hotel restaurants are also a good bet. Here are some recommendations:
The eateries of the Bluff Arts District especially the Back Inn Café, 402 East Second Street, 423/265-5033
The Green Room, Sheraton Read House Lobby, 827 Broad Street, 423/266-4121
Southside Grill, 1400 Cowart Street, 423/266-6511. Order their Fried Green Tomatoes for appetizer.
Southern Belle Riverboat, 201 Riverfront Parkway, Pier 2, 423/266-4488. Enjoy a dinner cruise and see the riverfront along the mighty Tennessee River on a genuine three-story riverboat while a rooftop organist plays familiar melodies followed by a dance band in the lower level.
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